Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Blog Milepost

I love looking at the stats of this blog. I like seeing how many people looked at it and where they are. Today we have broken our record of monthly page views in a most dramatic way.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this blog, as a reader, a contributor, or a promoter. Have a wonderful New Year. I am excited to see where we go next.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Importance of Breath in Prayer

Prayer and invocation are a huge part of my practice. I am much more apt to contact a spirit through meditation and chant than by formal evocation. We can talk another time about why this is but for this discussion I wanted to talk a bit about the how, the procedure, of effective invocation and prayer. The two most integral and important elements of prayer are the breath and visualization. It is breath and breathing that is perhaps so obvious that most people overlook its importance. At least that was how it was for me.

I always exhale during my prayers. The impetus to do so came to me while I was reciting the Astrachios prayer. In that prayer a series of 28 names are invoked to empower the magician. According to the instructions in the True Grimoire it is to be recited several times throughout the day. I would recite it as I'm walking my dog, while I was riding the bus, halfway down a staircase at work, and any time I had a few minutes to devote. Sometimes I couldn't use my full voice and sometimes I would need to be downright silent. In all cases though I use my mouth and my breath and I always exhale.

Over the course of my practice there were times that I would recite the Astrachios prayer with both inhales and exhales. The names recited on inhale had a very different feel to me than the exhales. It was this recognition of the difference that caught my attention and illustrated just how important exhalation is for prayer.

A couple of months ago I heard a lecture by Al Cummings in which he mentioned that, in prayer, the exhalation itself was a kind of offering just as incense might be. An exhale sends out more than air from the lungs. There is moisture and energy which, when combined with prayer, become an integral part of it. It is a physical manifestation of the life force. The exhalation sends the words and intent of the magician out into the universe; it makes the prayer real in a certain sense.

Breath as spiritual power has echoes in the macrocosm. Countless are the myths in which divinity creates and then breathes life into their creation. The word inspire means to be filled with the breath of God and thereby vivified or filled with knowledge. The breath coming out of your mouth and nose right now is directly related to the breath of God. To use the breath consciously in prayer is to participate in the divine creation process.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meditations on Astaroth

After I finished the cycle of scrying the Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon I felt it was time to get back to working with the goetic spirits. The day after I did the last Moon scrying session, September 25th, I got to work memorizing Astaroth's conjuration from the True Grimoire. I started a practice of reciting the conjuration on my string of mala beads. I added Scirlin's conjuration and Astaroth's conjuration to my daily recitations of the Astrachios prayer. When I walked around my neighborhood I would pluck rosemary and rub it against my forehead then flick the remains into the next intersection saying "Astaroth, Lady of the Crossroads".  I burnt incenses in their honor.

I asked Astaroth to teach me her magic.

A couple of things happened immediately. First, I came down with a cold stronger than I've had in many years and, second, my work projects multiplied and piled up. I don't know that the cold taught me a whole lot about Astaroth's magic but my work projects certainly did.

In the grimoires Astaroth is given the powers of invisibility and procuring honor, among other things. This dual power of glamour and invisibility were my first lesson in Astaroth's magic. Professionally I work managing volunteers for a nonprofit organization. At the beginning of October I had several projects laid at my feet and my task for all of them was to recruit, train, and supervise volunteers. These are people who were being asked to work hard at some pretty menial jobs for no pay. The only reasons that any of them volunteer are purely emotional; either they love the cause or I can talk them into it. This is where the glamour of Astaroth comes in.

This is also the part of the essay where the UPG comes in.

I was shown two visualization techniques. The first and most important is the image of an eclipsed sun or star. I experimented a bit with the visualization: sometimes the corona of the eclipse was my aura, sometimes it was a small shining circlet on my forehead, other times it was gigantic and extended from horizon to horizon, and other variations. It is the corona of this visualized eclipse that I used to both call willing volunteers to me and also to dazzle them when we were face to face. This corona of light gave me an aura of charismatic beauty and I used it as well as I could. I suspect that the shadow part of this eclipse visualization would help with invisibility but I haven't used that just yet. I needed to be a shining beacon calling like a siren to all who could hear me.

The second visualization I used less but the times I did use it, it seemed very effective. It is a little difficult to describe but, essentially, as I looked people in the eye I reached in through their pupils and grabbed them by the fibers of their brains. People would become transfixed and would absorb my instructions or be compelled by my arguments. The astute student of the occult will recognize an echo in this of Agrippa's "Of Fascination and the Art Thereof", Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 1, Chapter 50,

There is much more to learn from Astaroth. Among the avenues I hope to pursue are her reflections in the avatars from her past, Inana, Astare, Hecate; her attribute as wealth giver; the spirits listed as her subordinates in the True Grimoire; and her general connection to the Underworld.  As I learn more I will update with my findings.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Astaroth, Page One

Page one of a new journal dedicated to Astaroth. 100 pages to fill. I'll keep you updated on how it progresses.
For those of you unfamiliar with what is depicted here, on top is Astaroth's seal from the True Grimoire, below is the word square from the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage "for emeralds".

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon; Raubel

This is an account of me practicing my visualization/astral skills by working with the Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon. It is entirely UPG. Enjoy.

Raubel in the House of Atarfa.
I step through my door and onto a green, grassy hilltop. The wind is blowing and bending the blades of grass. The sky is bright blue and fluffy white clouds drift on the wind. Directly in front of me, hovering above the hilltop is a man brightly glowing red all over. He is like a red light and it is so bright that I can't see any details or features, just the shape. His hands are outstretched so that he resembles a letter tau or a crucifix. He announces to me that he is Raubel. I introduce myself and say that I wan to learn his magic. He descends and touches down on the hill in front of me. He reaches up and pulls a hood from in front of his face revealing his head. This makes the glow disappear. His clothing now looks like normal canvas colored red. The features of his face are all disproportionately large and exaggerated. He says, "first thing to learn is how to breathe," and he gives me instruction on modifying my breathing. I follow his instructions and I can feel a change in vibration over my whole body. Then he glows red again but not as brightly as before. He reaches out his hand toward my head. A glowing sigil of red lines floats out of his palm and melts into my forehead. He suggests I try my hand at glowing. I glow blue and I see a blue sigilized version of my name. It hangs between us but disappears as Raubel levitates again, spreading his arms wide as before. He tells me that the levitation is a skill for which I am not yet ready and that we had probably done enough for now. I thank him and turn back to my door and leave.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon; Annediex

This is an account of me practicing my visualization/astral skills by working with the Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon. It is entirely UPG. Enjoy.

Annediex in the House of Annathra.
I stepped through my door and into the Mansion Annathra which appeared as the tree tops of a very dense forest. The branches and leaves are so thick that I can step onto the tree tops and they hold me up. There is a slight give as they bend slightly under my weight. It is like walking on a giant woven basket. The surface undulates with the different heights of the trees below. I walk for a bit not seeing anyone. The sun is out and it is a pleasant day. I wonder that I haven't seen anyone. I look down and see that the branches have thousands of small ants crawling around on them. As I watch, the ants arrange themselves to form a large face of moving, writhing ants. The face smiles. I ask if it is Annediex and in a woman's voice she says she is. I ask, "what is your magic?" In response she laughs and the ants crawl away, dissolving the face. It looks like water flowing away into the texture of the tree. Then a gigantic ant with wings walks up to me. It is bigger than I am and it is stark white. It stops in front of me and I crawl up onto its back. It flies off and to a castle made of the same living tree tops as the floor. The ant lands on a large balcony. I look at the walls of the castle and see that the branches that form the walls are actively growing, slowly flowing into the shape of the building. I walk into the doorway of the balcony and into the castle. Inside there is a large rug on the floor and shelves full of various things. Near the far wall there is a man in a long robe who turns toward me as I walk in. He has a long beard and he says, "I am Morex and I am here to teach you the magic of Annediex." I am impressed and I thank him. I ask when I can talk to him and he tells me when the Moon is in this Mansion. I ask if I may have a lesson now. He pulls out a small dish full of water and shows me a method of dissolving influence into it. I thank him again. He points to the giant white ant that is still on the balcony and says that it is named Valan and that he has something to show me. I walk out onto the balcony and crawl back onto the back of the ant. It flies up and then then dives under the tree tops of the forest. Under the mat of branches that form the canopy the forest floor is dark and thick with thorny tree trunks. Valan says, "the thorns are deadly. The bark is bitter but healing." I tell Valan that I enjoy this Mansion. He says, "the Mansions will be good to you but you don't understand them yet. Each Mansion has two sides but that the manifestation isn't dependent on the astrological conditions." I thank him and make my good byes and leave.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon; Geriz

Geriz in the House of Alnath.
This session came very easily this time. When I stepped trough my door I found myself on the floor of a Roman coliseum. The day is hot and dry. In front of me is a gladiator with a sword, wearing a helmet, with his arms raised in victory. The bodies of dead men are littered around the arena. The crowd cheers loudly. I suddenly feel very conspicuous with the roaring crowd all around. The gladiator faces me and says cheerfully, "come, let's celebrate," and he leads me through a door on one side of the arena. Through the door we come to a small room with a rough table. The walls are yellow and the texture of rough plaster. The gladiator takes off his helmet. His hair is dark and clings to his head with sweat. His face is flush and ruddy. He smells of sweat and blood. He smiles at me and puts his helmet on the table. He picks up a bottle of wine and pours some into two cups, one for each of us. I ask, "what is your magic?" He makes a fist and says, "driving through,' as he makes a punching gesture. Back in the coliseum the sound of a horn calls out. The gladiator looks up and grabs his helmet. He walks back onto the floor of the coliseum. I follow him to the door but I hold back at the door. There is now a minotaur with a sword ready to fight. The gladiator advances and kills the minotaur easily. The crowd roars. The minotaur falls onto a stack of bodies I hadn't noticed. The gladiator turns to me and says, "I want to show you something." He walks back into the small room. Now on the table are large sheets of paper covered in diagrams. I leaf through the papers but I don't really understand or recognize what is drawn on them. "Strategy is very important," he says. Then with passion he says, "now is the time to put your plans into action!" Before I can say anything the horn blows again in the coliseum. The gladiator grabs his helmet and heads back out. I take the opportunity to leave and end the session.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon; Anuxi

This is an account of my practicing my visualization/astral skills by working with the Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon. It is entirely UPG. Enjoy.

Anuxi in the House of Arrexhe.

When I opened my door into the Mansion of Arrexhe I found myself in a landscape that looked like the surface of the Moon. It was gray and rocky and thick with dust. The sky was black and starless. I walked for a bit and soon came to a small, round grass hut. The dried grass of the walls and roof were a golden color that stood in stark contrast to the monochrome grayness of the landscape. As I got closer to the hut a man comes out of the door and challengingly says, "hey, who are you?" His head is shaved and he is wearing clothes made of animal furs. I introduce myself and say that I am looking for Anuxi. He relaxes a bit and cheerfully says, "oh, come in," and he turns and reenters the hut. I follow him and see that the interior of the hut is a spiral staircase leading down. We walk down the stairs and at the floor the room is no bigger than the hut. In the middle there is a large stone that looks like it is used as a table and two stones for chairs on either side. There seems to be a shaft of light  coming from above and illuminating the stone table. It does not look like a habitation. Anuxi asks me if I play cards. I say, "sure, I guess." Excitedly he gestures for me to sit. He deals some cards. I look at the cards in my hand and see I have a queen, an 8, and two 2s. The cards don't look like the regular suits of playing cards as they change colors in my hand. Anuxi puts two small silver fish on the table between us as a bet. I hold out my hand to the side and envision two similar looking fish that appear in my hand. He looks at me sideways seeming a little wary but when I put my fish on the table as my bet he relaxes. He looks at his cards and cheers. He has 3 queens. "I win," he exclaims as he scoops up the fish. It is only at this point that I realize I don't really know what game we are playing. I decide to try and change the subject so I ask if there are others nearby. He tells me that there is an old man near here. I ask him where he got the fish. Anuxi tells me there is a lake not far away. I ask if we can go there and he assents. We walk back up the spiral stairs and out of the hut. He leads me to a large body of water that is unnaturally still and mirror flat. In fact I'm not sure it is water. I pick up some of the dust from the ground and throw it onto the surface of the lake. The dust sinks into the water but doesn't leave any ripples. I ask Anuxi, "what is your magic?" He says, "long sight," and I get the impression that he means long in time as well as distance. Then the whole vision goes dark. I hear a loud voice say, "the ashes will not break," and I am kicked out of the vision and the session ends abruptly.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon; Abliemel

This is an account of my practicing my visualization/astral skills by working with the Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon. It is entirely UPG. Enjoy.

Abliemel in the House of Al Fargh al Thani.

I sat to visit Abliemel as I have for the previous Mansions; envisioning the small stone room and the wooden door with the Moon and the name Abliemel on it. I opened the door and stepped into a meadow with dry golden grass up to my waist. It is sunny and pleasant. I waded through the grass for a bit and come to a white wooden fence running across my path. The fence has a black iron gate in it. I open and walk through the gate. The grass on the other side is greener and thicker and darker. I walk for a few moments and come to another gate and fence, then another and another. Soon they are coming on sooner and sooner. I feel like I'm swimming in fences and gates, like they are almost coming at me. I'm starting to feel clausterphobic. Nearby I see a giant tree and I struggle through a series of gates to get to it. I climb the tree up and away from all the fences. I rest on a thick branch and see next to me a giant songbird, like a sparrow or a finch or something. The bird changes into a young girl of about 6 or so. She is wearing a dress that is the same color as the feathers of the bird. She has black hair in two braids. She says hello to me. I ask if she is Abliemel. She says she is and as she does she changes into a girl slightly older, 10 maybe, still in the same color dress, still with black braids. She looks like she is about to ask a question but never does. She changes to a 4 years old, then 15 or 16. Her image jumps back and forth in age. I ask, "what is your magic?" As a 10 year old she says, "gathering" and then she laughs but it is a laugh of a mature woman. I find it disconcerting coming from a child. I ask, "what is around here?" As a 13 year old she says, "oh, many things". And as I watch her her ages swing more, now 4 years old, now 30, now 75, now 8. I climb the tree leaving her behind on the branch. There is life all over the tree; birds, caterpillars, lichens. When I get to the top I get a view of the countryside. In the distance I see a mountain and an ocean. The sun is high and the air is clear. I can see for a long distance. I climb back down past Abliemel and to the ground. She watches me but doesn't come off the branch. I say, "won't you come down?" She says, "no, I must stay in the tree. I have to keep watch." I ask what she is watching for. Dreamily and seeming to ignore me she simply repeats to herself "...have to keep watch..." I shrug and start making my way back through the gates back to my door. Before I get there I see a hole in the ground with stairs leading down, like a cellar. I go down the stairs and find myself in a cavern of dark stone. The floor is polished and shining. In front of me is a coil of whispy, white smoke. It rises up and takes the shape of a head and torso with a smokey tail. The shape is person-like but without detail. I ask, "who are you?" The smoke person answers, "I am Abliemel." I am a little surprised and ask, "what is your relationship to the one out there?" The smoke person answers, "we are the same, but this is the other side of the Mansion." I ask, "what is your magic?" and this Abliemel says, "passage, opening," and I get the impression of the darkness of the birth canal and of passing out of that darkness. I ask, "what is there to see here?" Abliemel says, "Things of no light. Would you like to see?" I say, "no, not right now, another time. Thank you." Abliemel says, "my pleasure, come again," which again surprises me. I turn around and the door back to my entrance chamber is right behind me. I step through and leave.

The Circuitousness of the Rabbit Hole

It has a bit of time since I've posted on the blog here. Thankfully it is because I've been working and not because of some other, less productive reason. So what have I been working on? Let's see if I can summarize.
  • My Surgat talisman sits only half done. I haven't moved forward on that for two reasons which I'll mention below.
  • My Astaroth First Character still sits in my shirt pocket. The culmination of that working has been stalled in favor of deepening my research on Astaroth. This deeper research into Astaroth is one of the reasons the Surgat talisman is delayed as I am trying to maintain the hierarchy of the True Grimoire. So the plan is to finish Astaroth first, then finish with Surgat.
  • I have been doing research into the Sumerian goddess Inana as part of my larger research on Astaroth. Inana's descent into the Underworld is a myth rife with symbolism that will be helpful in my conjuration of Astaroth and my own journey to the Underworld.
  • After reading Jake Stratton-Kent's A Prince Among Spirits I have decided that one of the necessary things to continue with both the research into Astaroth/Inana and Surgat is to work with the Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon. This is the second reason the Surgat talisman has been delayed.
So, that is what I've been doing for the past few weeks, everyday trying to contact the Spirit of the Mansion of the Moon in which the Moon resides at that time. After doing a tarot reading about the best way to perform this project I have been trying to improve my visionary/astral skills. At the beginning these skills were atrocious and neglected. Now, after 17 days of practice, my skills are a bit better but I still have a lot of room for improvement.
It is all related and it seems that one leads to the other, hence the title of this post.
The Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon is a subject that is ripe for exploration. I've been swimming in my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis) with this project as a way to break the ice between me and this category of spirits. As I continue I will post more of what I learn.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Mansions of the Moon Are Split

Thing 1: Why is it that both the Latin Picatrix and Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy  have more than one list regarding the Mansions of the Moon?

Thing 2: Because working with the spirits of the Mansions of the Moon is more advanced than working with the Mansions alone.
In other words, every sorcerer should be familiar with the influences of the Mansions but to call the spirit associated with that Mansion is a whole other thing. In both of the books mentioned the list of the names of the spirits comes well after the list of the virtues of each Mansion. In the Picatrix they virtually bookend the whole work.

Thing 1: If one was going to start calling them what are some of the concerns?

Thing 2: That the spirit will be malefic when the Moon is waning or otherwise afflicted.
That there might be one or two or four or six or 360 faces for each spirit depending on the relative position of the Sun.
That a daily practice is what is indicated.
That my goetic work will be put on hold.

Thing 1: Mere excuses. Don't let fear dictate your actions. A thing is only finished once it's begun. A single step begins a thousand miles, after all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Was Told I'm Unconscious

This morning I was told that I am unconscious. And it hit me pretty hard because it didn't come from some person trying to give me constructive criticism, it came from much deeper.

I can feel it. My focus has been less, I've been feeling sleepy, and misfirings in my memory have been pointed out to me. My meditation sessions have been scant and superficial. I've been smoking and drinking every chance I get. It's a slump I didn't quite notice was happening until I was neck deep in it.

It's time for a spiritual clean up. Time to get balanced. It is time for me to wake up and be conscious again. The easiest first step is to start fasting. This will address some of the energy and fuzzy mind issues. A return to a more conscious and robust meditation regimen will also help.

It raises questions in my mind about the uses of ritual purity in the True Grimoire. I will admit that I have not been the most stringent in my adherence to purity in the process. Perhaps some of its value lies in preventing this slow slide into torpor. And while I do bless my shower every morning and many of the glasses of water I drink, my practice of purity can use a big reassessment and update.

This is the ebb and flow of practice I've written about before.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stone and Metal in the Surgat Talisman

In the True Grimoire spell ‘To Open Anything Shut or Locked’ the principal item is a lodestone covered in lead filings. This is an interesting combination in the context of this working. In preparation for making this talisman I have spent some time researching and contemplating their significance. Here are some of my thoughts.

The lodestone is a powerfully magical stone for its natural magnetism and its affinity with iron. But in this context it is not with the attractive qualities of the stone that we are concerned. "Lode" is from Old English meaning 'way' or 'course'. The lodestone is the Stone of the Way. It was used historically as a directional compass. Magically speaking its use in our talisman is to point out an open way, which happens to be wherever the magician points it.

In goetic terms, as a talisman of the Underworld, it opens all the gates and orients the traveler on the path they have chosen. On a journey through the Underworld, passage and orientation are essential tools to get in, find one's way, and get back out. This is one of the things the charged and consecrated lodestone provides. On the other side of the same coin, passage and orientation can be extended to summoning a spirit to the magician. The stone then acts as a sort of beacon at an open gate beckoning spirits. We would be foolish to wholly discount the attractive qualities of the lodestone.

Lead is also very powerfully magical and has been used for thousands of years to represent the heaviest and most earthy of spirits. Its use is hardly surprising in a talisman charged by an Underworld spirit. Most often it is used in works that restrict, constrain, and encumber. In our talisman it acts to constrain the attractive properties of the lodestone, thereby heightening its directional qualities and restricting its power to the intentions of the magician.

And, of course, we cannot dismiss the planetary attributions of these materials. Lead is the quintessential metal of Saturn and lodestone, according to Agrippa (book 1, chapter 44), is of both Mars and Saturn. Thus the chthonic connotations are heightened.

This spell makes for a most powerful Underworld talisman.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Solve et Coagula; Academic Syncretism

I just recently finished reading a new pamphlet from Hadean Press by Jake Stratton-Kent titled A Prince Among Spirits. I was keenly interested in acquiring this book as it is about the Verum spirit Surgat. And those of you following along will note that I have been working with Surgat off and on for a while now.

I thoroughly enjoy Stratton-Kent's writing. The style that I came to appreciate in the Encyclopedia Goetica series is continued here; intelligent but not obscure, balanced in terms of considering practice, deeply researched, and written to an audience of practitioners. It is an excellent addition to the Guides to the Underworld series and, in my opinion, superior to a few of them.

The information in this book is a whole other direction from where my own received Personal Gnosis was taking me. At the risk of giving a spoiler away the main thesis of A Prince Among Spirits is along the lines of Surgat=Forcas=Aquiel=Aziel. And Aziel is all over European and Semitic spirit work in very high ranking positions, including King of the West (cardinal direction) in Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. So Surgat, under a variety of names, is one of the more powerful and ubiquitous spirits of the grimoires.

I have little doubt as to the academic rigors of Jake Stratton-Kent's research. Some of his deductions about spirit names from different eras and books being related seem tenuous at times but never without merit or logic. From a practical standpoint I'm still processing how, or if, I will incorporate this new knowledge into my practice with Surgat.

Here is my difficulty: I have always been under the impression that the various names of an entity are really different entities. Venus is not Aphrodite. Does it help me to work with Venus knowing the depth of Aphrodite? Yes and no, in the same way that it is instructive to know something about a person's family before you meet them. But I don't think it tells me very much about Venus specifically. This has been my difficulty with syncretism in general.

I do appreciate that the interwoven strands of Surgat's mythology have been laid out in front of me. The way they seem to have joined and separated over time is the inspiration of this blog title.

I think I will continue to work with Surgat for his own sake, at least for now. A Prince Among Spirits has not greatly changed my attitude about Surgat. I was never much thinking he was a subordinate spirit in terms of esteem anyway and, if anything this book has confirmed that notion. We'll see if Forcas or Aziel make their way into my work with Surgat.

I'll be talking with Surgat and Scirlin about this at length.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Meditations on Surgat, part 3

After nearly a year of little to no activity, Surgat calls once again.
I have progressed a bit in the construction of a talisman in Surgat's honor.
For the past couple of weeks I've been concentrating on Surgat, working to build a relationship that was started a while ago. You can read my previous post here and another one here.
I posted some of my thoughts on Surgat on the Grimorium Verum Yahoo Group page and learned that Jake Stratton-Kent has put out a treatment on Surgat through Hadean Press, titled A Prince Among Spirits. I've ordered a copy but I can't seem to find an electronic version. I will be very curious to read it and see how it matches or diverges from my limited experience so far. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tarot Working, The World

The World
This is the last one for this project. I too have a few transitions happening in my life that seem to coincide with this working; endings and beginnings, new eras, new chapters.
I found the World to be rather draining to work with, much more than any of the other cards. I was so tired when I finished. At any rate, here is my report.
I opened the session in the same way as I have with all the previous cards; “Spirit of the World, I call to you. Come to me. Speak to me. Share with me your wisdom. Show me your forms.” Soon a noticeable stillness falls over the room and the mantle on the central figure of the card image begins to glow. Then I see a vision of a dark brook, a creek, winding through a thick wooded forest. The branches of the trees grow over the creek in a sort of low ceiling of lattice branches. It looks like a tunnel. It reminds me of the place I grew up. Then the vision passes and the image becomes the card again.
I ask, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The garland that surrounds the central figure in the image takes on the appearance of being comprised of feathers. They become two wings bent in an embrace. I hear, “encapsulating.” Then the central figure says, “turn,” and I take it to mean changing direction.
I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” The figure in the center is now a dancer and she says, “the surety of your footfalls.” Then the angel in the corner says, “the words in the ledger,” and I see the angel is holding a large book. Then the eagle says, “strength of heart,” as it thrusts forth its chest. I understand that it is invulnerable. Then the lion says, “the stillness of the subdued,” and he bows his head and it turns into a grass covered hill. I understand the hill is a symbol of patience. Then the bull says, “your curiosity and your humor; your sense of wonder,” and the bull is laughing like a child.
I ask the figure in the middle, “where are you?” She says, “above you,” but she answers my question just as I’ve thought it and before I can speak it.
I ask her, “who are you?” In response I see a vision of a stone lined well at night. I understand that this well is the only water source for a small village.
I ask, “What are the objects in your hands?” She says, “the active and the receptive. The hammer and the bell. The pitcher and the cup. A man and his god.” In her dance she does a spin. Below, the bull shakes water from its head as if it were submerged. Then its face becomes human, then two people’s faces, then back to the bull. The lion’s face changes to an old man’s face with a long beard but bright, youthful eyes. They are eyes that have lived a thousand lifetimes. At the top the angel has turned bright red and is gesturing toward the eagle to try to calm it. Apparently the eagle is angry and agitated. The figure in the middle gestures toward them all and says, “they turn as they will.” Then she spins again.
I ask, “what is your connection to the Four Kings?” The figure in the middle of the card looks thoughtful for a moment and then a glowing line like a string extends from her heart and connects to the eagle. Then another extends from her heart and connects to the angel, then the lion, and then the bull. They are connected through her. She is the product of their combined efforts. The four of them are her creators and work continuously on forming her. The moves of her dance are the buffets of their efforts.
The figure in the middle raises her arm in a gesture of blessing. She is blessing the world. She becomes a heavenly messiah blessing the earth as she returns.
At this point I am really tired and drained and it’s all feeling really intense so I decide to end the session. I thank the spirit of the World for coming and speaking with me, to be at peace. And as I do the figure in the middle continues dancing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tarot Working, Judgment

I had some trepidation about sitting with Judgment that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m not sure what made me nervous before I started but I persevered and here is a record of my session.
I used the same opening as all the last cards and soon I felt a tingling sensation across my scalp on the back of my head. This was the sign of the arrival of the spirit.

I asked, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The angel in the image on the card seemed to spread its wings and the angel says, “flight”. The wings seem to keep extending until they have encircled me and further to encircle and embrace the world. Then they suddenly shrink down until they appear like ears on the angel’s head and the angel says, “listening deeply”.

I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” A wave of goose bumps shiver across my left thigh and the angel says, “moving beyond the flesh.”
At this point my phone rings. We all freeze. When it finishes the angel smiles at me.

I ask, “are you Gabriel?” At this the angel gets a rather serious expression on its face and says, “among others”.
I ask, “what is the purpose of your trumpet?” Again I get the shiver across my leg but the vibration seems to leave my leg and expand and turn in to the vibration of a note played on the trumpet. The vibration spreads and soon it is vibrating all creation. And the angel says, “penetrate to the core”.

I ask, “what is you connection to The Lovers?” [the tarot card]. Around me the room seems to grow a little darker and the angel says, “I bring the lovers to their end”.
I ask, “what is your connection to Temperance?” [the tarot card]. The angel shines with a divine light and says something that I don’t catch. Then it starts to play the trumpet but I can’t hear anything. Then, quite apart from the figures down below I see a man appear next to the angel on its right. On the angel’s left flames appear. The angel says, “I am the other side of Temperance.” The angel puts its hand to its ear as if listening for something.

I ask, “who are the figures below?” At this I get a vision of people on the earth falling dead and their spirits rising from their bodies and ascending to heaven. The angel says, “they are the graves of the conscious and the unconscious.” Then the angel points to the figure in the card image that resembles a corpse. The corpse’s head is a swirl and the angel says, “this gate is the same as my gate,” and the angel also points to the ring of clouds from which it emerges which now resembles the same swirling shape that is the head of the corpse.
I ask, “are they alive or dead?” The angel says, “they are yet unconscious. They are distracted by the flesh. They have lain like insect larvae, developing in the grave. They emerge transformed.”

I ask, “how can I recognize your call?” The angel says, “all will hear it. There is no hiding from it.”
I ask, “what is your connection to the Underworld?” The angel says, “I pass between. All I call forth are obliged to come.” I see a vision of a dark figure on a subterranean cliff blowing a clarion as ranks of soldiers march below. Then the angel points to the flag attached to the trumpet and says, “the cross, it is the crossroads.”

Then the man in the grave at the bottom of the card starts to say something; he raises his hand slightly and opens his mouth to speak. He appears to be ready to argue and question the angel. The woman looks at him fearfully. The angel will not let him speak. The man wants to plead his case but Judgment is beyond placating.
Too late. The decision has already been made and the actions here are repercussions of that decision.

The woman is hiding something in her hand. It is a small stone, a jewel. She mistakes it for her heart. The corpse, who has nothing, is a direct conduit to God. The corpse’s head becomes the opening of the angel’s trumpet and the Will of God comes echoing out like music.
Then I see the light of the angel grow so intense that it sweeps across the earth, scorching the hills like a burning scythe. It reminds me of a similar vision I had with the Death card so I ask, “what is your connection to Death?” the angel says, “we both work the gate. Where Death recedes I expand.” And I understand Death as receptive and inward moving and Judgment as active and outward moving.

At this I decide it’s time to wrap this session up. I thank Judgement for speaking to me. I ask that Judgement be my ally and to be at peace and then I end the session.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tarot Working, The Sun

The Sun.
This week I sat with the Sun. Here is how it went.
First it may be notable that my candle was reluctant to stay lit as I began this working. The flame was really small for several minutes before it perked up and burned with a more regular light. I sat with the card before me and even before I formally made the call the rays of the Sun in the image seemed to be in motion.
I used the call that I’ve used for all the previous cards and after a few moments the Sun’s face on the card begins to slide in such a way that the two halves become asymmetrical. The left side of his face slides up and out of alignment with the right. Then I hear, “I encompass all things.” I am a little taken aback by a spirit using words to announce its arrival. The rays of the Sun appear to be emanating in energetic spirals.
I ask, “how can I use your energy in my life.” In response I see in my mind’s eye a section of an astrological chart. It is my natal chart and I see the position of the Sun there. Then I see the image on the card change and the rays from the Sun stop forming spirals and come out in straight lines. The Sun says, “Orientation. You are your center. I am your center.”
I ask, “what lessons can you teach me?” The face of the Sun changes again to resemble an aged face of indeterminate gender. He says, “wisdom of age.” Then the face changes again to that of a man with a thick mustache. His lips are pursed as if he is whistling or singing but I don’t hear any sound. The rays of the sun resemble arms and legs in motion as if he is dancing. He’s wiggling around dancing and singing.
I ask, “who are the children?” The Sun seems to ignore me. He just keeps dancing and singing. The children say nothing. So then I try to be more direct and ask “children, who are you?” They say, “the blind and the sighted,” and nothing more.
I ask the Sun, “what are you singing?” He says, “a song of the earth and sky.”
I ask, “how may I invoke your blessing?” The Sun keeps dancing again seeming to ignore me but I am patient and I wait for the answer. After a while he says, “push from your center.” Then the rays of the Sun become jets of fire shooting out with considerable force. He says, “you are all sighted and blind.” By this I take it he means all of humanity.
I ask, “how do I know when I am blind?” He responds, “you are always blind.” Then the rays from the Sun take on the appearance of crystals that erupt from the surface of the Sun to form long spikes.
I ask, “how can I determine falsehood?” The Sun says, “the dance will be out of rhythm.” Then a small cloud appears to the side, obscuring some of the rays.
I ask, “how can I be a better creator?” But again the Sun ignores me and just keeps dancing and whistling.
I ask, ”Will there be a time when you cease to shine?” and he gives me the obvious answer, “yes, at the end.” Then the rays take on the appearance of a thousand arms with groping hands all reaching out seeking something to grab. These hands are very different than the rays of the dancing Sun. They are more like human arms. The energy of the dancing ray arms was that they were pushing out from the Sun, these the energy is more receptive, almost hungry. It is rather disconcerting.
I ask, “what is your connection to the Four Kings?” In response the Sun forms into a compass rose and it begins to spin like a top. As it does this I understand that the Four Kings form the points of the compass rose and the Sun is at the center. As it spins, blue fire jets from the surface of the Sun at various points.
I ask, “what is your message to me?” The Sun says, “pay attention. Keep your eyes open.”
With that I decide to close the session. I thank the Sun and call it to be at peace. I thank it for coming and speaking to me. I ask the Sun to be my ally and to help me learn its lessons. Then I snuff my candle and it stings much more than usual. Maybe my candle snuffing callous is getting thin or maybe it was the influence of the Sun.   

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tarot Working, The Moon

The Moon
I spent the last week sitting with the Moon. Here’s how my scrying sessions went. As seems to be the pattern my first attempt was much shorter than I would have liked because I was interrupted.
For the first attempt I followed the pattern I have been; setting up a candle and propping the card up in front of me. I used the same call as with the previous cards and soon I felt a wind at my back even though I was sitting in a chair. Then, in the image on the card, curved lines formed on either side of the Moon and I saw that these line described the path of the Moon through the sky and it was at its zenith. This was the appearance of the spirit but just at that moment I was walked in on and so wrapped up that session.

My second session was a couple of days later. Again I gave the standard call and opening. This time I didn’t feel any wind but when the spirit arrived the picture changed. The Moon got brighter and the rays emanating from her multiplied and moved as the shone. The Moon had her left eye closed but the right one was open.

I asked, “how can I use your energy in my life?” In response the curved lines marking the path of the Moon through the sky reappeared as they had in the first session and she says, “cycles”. Then one of the dogs on the ground rises up and gets bigger while the other cowers down and gets smaller. She says, “dominance”.

I ask, “what lessons can you teach me?” Without any changes to the image or visions she says, “isolation”. Then the face in the Moon changes to resemble a figure standing at what looks like a control panel of some kind. The figure is moving the controls on the panel. The Moon says, “driving,” and I understand the connotation to be to control the movements of a vehicle.
I ask, “who are the dogs?” The Moon says, “they guard the ways. They receive the blood.” Then the dogs change to resemble two figures facing away from me and toward the Moon so I see their backs. They are bowing like devotees before an idol.

I ask, “do the dogs have names?” The Moon says, “yes.” The one on the left is highlighted and she says “Clockwise”. Then the one on the right, “Counterclockwise”. Then each dog appears to become a swirl of color in the direction that bears their name.
I ask, “who is the lobster?” The Moon says, “all that is hidden.” Then the lobster changes shape and resembles a woman with her arms raised exulting or cheering. Then in a subtle way I understand that the lobster gives the illusion that there is a bottom to the pool when it is actually limitless and deep. Then I see the lobster grab and hold the dog on the left as it points to the dog on the right and I understand that the lobster is directing their behavior and movements. The Moon says, “I direct it all.”

I ask, “what are the castles?” The Moon says, “the gates of my rising and setting.”
I ask, “what is your connection to the Underworld?” In response I see a man wearing a white cloak. He is rhythmically dancing. He’s some kind of priest, magician, or shaman.

I ask, “how can you help me with my spirit work?” I see a dark shape with a brilliant light behind it. I can’t make out what the shape is. The Moon says, “hidden light.” Then I see a vision of a hand tossing seeds to hungry birds on the ground. Then a third vision in response to my question forms in the shape of a thousand faces all turning toward the Moon like an audience for a performance.
I ask, “are you strongest when you are New or when you are Full?” The Moon says, “two sides of the same coin.”

Then I see wings open on either side of the Moon and it resolves into an emblem of a bird. The Moon says, “I am the connection to all the realms.” Then I see an image of a pair of cupped hands catching a moonbeam so that it shines in the palms. Then the dogs change shape and resemble two people who are clasping each other’s hands and pleading with the Moon, as if they are hopeful for some boon.
I ask, “how can I connect to other realms?” The image of the Moon in the card shines brighter and the face fades away to reveal a void. The Moon is now a tunnel that I can look through or walk through. I decide that that will be for another time.

I ask, “what is at the bottom of the pool?” [apparently forgetting I was told it is bottomless] The Moon responds, “the monsters you’ve created.”
At this point I’m getting pretty tired so I wrap up the session, asking the Moon to be an ally in my life and to help me learn her lessons and thanking her for coming and speaking to me.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tarot Working, The Star

For various reasons I cheated with the Star. I did the scrying session in two brief sessions as opposed to one long one, and the second session was on a Saturday technically two days after I should have moved on to the Moon. But if you won't tell, I won't tell.
The first time I sat for the scrying session I used the standard opening and soon I felt a cool breeze on my left forearm and then a wash of coolness over my whole body. I took this as the arrival of the spirit.
I asked, "how can I use your energy in my life?" I feel a tingling sensation on the back of my head. I see the image on the card change so that it appears that the edges of the earth are curling up forming a bowl shape. The edges of heaven curl up to match the earth. She says "shortening of distances". Herons fly across the sky behind her. Then it appears that she is swimming, treading water. She smiles and the image on the card returns to normal.
I ask, "what are the lessons you can teach me?" The image on the card goes dark except for the star at the top which shines brighter. She says, "navigation". Then she looks away and says, "longing". The sky in the image turns purple and blue, like twilight, and an elaborate crystalline lattice work forms over her and she says, "shelter".
I ask, "what are your pitchers?" she says, "Oil and water. They flow where there is the most resistance. They are made from the Hermit's lantern." [By this she mean the vessels themselves.] She continues, "The stars flow through me and I give birth to forms. I flow through you as well."
I ask, "where are you standing?" She says, "on the border of a far away country. I am the citizen of neither, I am in between."
I ask, "What is the bird?" She says, "he is the carrion bird I keep at bay."
Referring to her mentioning longing before I ask, "what do you long for?" Her eyes droop a bit and she says, "sleep. Release. An end to care."
I ask, "what is your connection to the number 8?" In the image it appears that a wind picked up and it blows her hair around. She turns her head slightly and listens to the wind. Then her hair grows so long that it covers her entire body. I see a line, a path, extend from her up into the stars. She says "the path, the gates..."
Then I get walked in on and so ends the first session.
The second session begins the same as them all with the same standard call to begin. This time it is the sky seeming to darken that announces the arrival of the spirit. I sit in contemplation for a bit and then I ask, "how many stars are there?" She says, "number beyond counting."
I ask, "what is your message to me?" She points to the star above her which now appears to have a ring around it. She says, "your gravity holds others in orbit." Then she points to the stream of water that flows by her and she says, "energy is flowing by you all the time." Then I see that as she pours her pitchers in the stream a connection is formed and the energy flows back and forth, in both directions, from the pitcher to the stream and from the stream into the pitcher. Then a fishbowl with a goldfish swimming in it appears behind her. I get the impression that it is something like a snow globe, a self-contained little world made entirely of the the energy of the stream and I see it is analogous to the universe.
I ask, "what is are the 8 paths and gates?" She does not answer me but the star above her seems to take on depth in 3 dimensions and it rotates in every direction. The center is indicated but beyond that there is no answer.
At this point I'm getting kind of tired so I close the session.
I thank the Star for coming and speaking to me. I ask her to be my ally, to help me learn her lessons, and to help me use her energy in my life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Comments on the Picatrix, Book III, Chapter 9 (part 1)

Chapter 9 of Book III of the Greer and Warnock translation of the Latin Picatrix gives us another very important set of details that, in my opinion at least, form a large part of the basis of the magic described in the book. It all comes down to the equilateral cross and identifying oneself as the center. We saw this same reliance on the equilateral cross in Chapter 6 of Book III with the Ritual of Perfect Nature. But where perfect nature is about honoring your connection to the universe, the rituals described in Chapter 9 are about honoring your connection to the planets.
Let's analyze the Chapter in detail. The Chapter is titled:

 How to Attract the Powers of Each Planet and the Powers of the Spirits, Naming Them According to Their Parts, and How to Accomplish This By Speaking Their Names.  

Straight away in the title we are given the key to this way of working with the planets. Call the spirits by name to do what work you require that is under the auspices of the planet with who you are working. When you need a Saturn (for instance) working done, these are the names to call, these are the spirits under Saturn who actually get things done. And while this is a very important point to consider regarding this chapter, I think the application of these names goes further.
The chapter begins with the names of all the spirits.

The spirit of Saturn called Redimez is coadunate with all of his names, both collectively and individually, and with his parts which are above and below and elsewhere, according to the opinion of Aristotle in the book which he wrote for Alexander which is called the Book of Antimaquis in which he discussed the way in which the powers of the planets and their spirits ought to be attracted.
This point about a spirit representing all the aspects of a planet gets repeated for all seven of them. In one way of thinking, in this example, Saturn is more of an office than an individual. It is Redimez that performs the actions of Saturn and it is Redimez that one speaks to when working under the auspices of Saturn.

And their names, as listed according to Aristotle's opinion, are as follows. The name of the spirit of Saturn above is Toz, below is called Corez, to the right Deytyz, to the left Deriuz, before Taylyz, behind Daruz; and it motions in its sphere and its progress through the signs and the motion of its spirits- all the aforesaid are united in the name Tahaytuc. All of these separate names above are united in the primary name, Redimez, and this name is the root and origin of all the names we have said.
The first question I have about this passage is "above what?". The conclusion I've come up with, and have been using, is that the magician using these names is the center from which they are oriented. It is instructive to remember that there are four passages in which these spirit names are given in context of working with spirits; twice in this chapter we're talking about now (Book III chapter 9), Book III chapter 8 (the one before this one), and Book IV chapter 9 (almost literally the end of the entire book). The chapter we are discussing now is the only one in which the names are expressed as individuals. In the other instances the list of names for each planet is simply called a prayer.

So what does this tell us? One of the things it tells us that by calling out the names we are invoking the power of the planet. In practical terms this means that to fill ourselves with the energy and power of a planet we use these names. When I make my morning oblations to the planet of the day I light some incense and call each of the names, envisioning that particular spirit in that place. So in our Saturn example my oblation goes something like this. I light the incense saying, "I light this incense to the honor and glory of Saturn and the spirits of Saturn." Then while saying "Toz" I envision a light above me. "Corez," a light below me. "Deytyz," a light to my right. "Deriuz," a light to my left. "Taylyz," a light in front of me. "Dariuz," a light behind me. I envision that these spirits form a sphere around me with their light. When I envision the spirit of the motion of a planet, in this case Tahaytuc, I envision the sphere to start spinning around me and the spirit is a charioteer, driving the sphere through space. Then when I intone Redimez I envision a light at my heart that encompasses and connects all the other lights. By this method I fill myself with the influence of Saturn.

Instead of quoting the next several paragraphs I will simply list the spirits because all the paragraphs that mention them are strikingly similar to the one above.

above- Dermez
below- Matiz
right- Maz
left- Deriz
before- Tamiz
behind- Foruz
motion- Dehydez
collective- Demehuz

above- Heheydiz
below- Heydeyuz
right- Maharaz
left- Ardauz
before- Hondehoyuz
behind- Meheyediz
motion- Dehydemez

The Sun
above- Dehymez
below- Eydulez
right- Deheyfuz
left- Azuhafez
before- Mahabeyuz
behind- Hadyz
motion- Letahaymeriz

above- Heyluz
below- Cahyluz
right- Diruez
left- Ableymez
before- Tyluz
behind- Arzuz
motion- Dehataryz

above- Amirez
below- Hytyz
right- Cehuz
left- Deriz
before- Meylez
behind- Dehedyz
motion- Mehendiz

The Moon
above- Hediz
below- Marayuz
right- Meletaz
left- Timez
before- Hueyez
behind- Meyneluz
motion- Dehanuz
collectively- Harnuz

Then the chapter continues:
Aristotle said all this in the book already mentioned, giving the aforesaid spirits the names just given, and asserting that these are the spirits of the parts of the universe, there being six parts in the climes of the seven planets. The names of these spirits are those that worshippers of the planets were accustomed to use, and which they habitually used in the prayers they prayed to the planets. You, however, ought to diligently pay attention to what we said earlier.
This paragraph consists of three sentences, let's look at each of them. In my copy of the Picatrix the first sentence has a footnote in which the translators tell us that "The climes were basic concepts in medieval geography- regions of the earth arranged in bands from north to south".
This brings up a second thing we can learn from the separate passages of the Picatrix all mentioning these spirits, namely, that they are to be called as a group.
There are no instructions that say something like "if you are way up north call Toz and if you are way down south call Corez." Instead it is always a group of names given like an incantation. I can only imagine that what the authors (and translators) conceive of a clime is different than what I think it means and that, to eliminate any confusion, calling them all covers all your bases.
The second sentence gives us a tone and an application for working with these spirits.
The third sentence also has a footnote suggesting it is a warning against polytheism.
The Chapter continues:
Next, the philosophers said that from these spirits descend all the spiritual potencies of the same kind that come into contact with the climes and the world of generation. By praying to the aforesaid spirits, they accomplished miracles- from them riches and poverty emanated, for they gave, took away, and changed the course of these things. They had bodies in which they were clad, and were embodied with the same. Each of them had human beings in their climes, into whom their powers and spirit flowed, and they permitted them to arrange things with these sciences and make use of things of their nature.
 Since these spirits are the active aspects of the planets it is not surprising that it is from them that spiritual potencies descend. Nor is it surprising that miracles are accomplished or that they changed the course of things. But it is a bit surprising to hear that they are walking among us, either themselves or with their human allies. Are we to endeavor to be these allies?

It also seems to me that a zoning ritual can be derived from this structure, perhaps involving all 56 names. I have not yet tried this but it seems a logical next step.

Next, we'll take up the second part of chapter 9.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Egipcios Kier Tarot

The Egipcios Kier Tarot

New tarot deck for me. The Egipcious Kier Tarot, circa 1984. If there is one thing to love about the ancient Egyptians it's their Underworld mythology. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tarot Working, The Tower

The Tower
I had difficulty with the Tower. It was only after three sittings that I was able to have success with my scrying. It has also been the most stressful week of the year so far. I don’t know that it is related but it seems awfully coincidental. Maybe I was just looking for it.

On my third try at scrying this card I sat with my candle and the card but I put it in a different position than I have with the rest of the previous cards. I still used the same words as with the others. The signal came rather late and with difficulty and it was like the image in the card suddenly came to life. I saw a long nosed face like some kind of goblin or giant carrion bird similar to a condor or a vulture. With this face came the knowledge that it was the bolt that strikes the Tower, the bolt was the spirit of the card.

I ask, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The image in the card changes and I see a hand extending from the heavens and reaching into the top of the Tower. I hear, “going within”. Then the two figures who look like they are falling from the Tower no longer look like they are in danger or distress but they are doing somersaults and embracing the earth.

My candle in the lantern seems very loud. I can hear the rush of the air as it rises in the heat of the flame. It seems to be roaring.

“I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” At this I see a vision of a parade of ancient soldiers marching in a street. Above them flies a red flag. The flag is being watched by someone in the crowd who is feeling crushed by the press of the crowd. The lesson is from that person’s perspective. My gaze moves a little lower down the image of the card to the middle section and I realize that that image was the message from the upper part of the card. The message from the middle section was, “how stars stay suspended in Heaven.” At this I see a vision of planets orbiting each other moving in a viscous jelly instead of empty space. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that space isn’t empty but is instead a media in which the plants float. I move my gaze to the lower section of the card. There the two figures say to me, “we only want to distract you from your other lessons.”

I ask the bolt, “Bolt, are you moving into or out of the Tower?” He says, “I open the Tower and move both ways.”
I ask, “to whom does the Tower belong?” At this I have a vision that I am flying into one of the dark windows of the Tower and into a very dark room. There is a figure there, a pale woman with her back to me. She is bent over slightly and clutching something tightly. She turns and I see it is a small box. It glows faintly, the light eaten by the gloom of the room. She offers it to me with a kind of thrusting gesture. I take it and hide it and I am sucked back out of the Tower window leaving the woman behind.

I ask, “do you indicate destruction?” He says, “sometimes, yes.”
I ask, “Bolt, why do you open the Tower?” He says, “The inside needs to be emptied before it can be filled.”

I ask, “what is your foundation made of?” He says, “the marrow of the bones of the earth.”

I ask, “who are the two falling from the Tower?” At this they answer and say, “we are travelers you have seen before.”

I ask, “travelers, where are you going?” And the answer, “the wormholes of the earth.” Then I see a vision of the interior of an immense dark cavern of black stone. A Tower is built on a jutting cliff in such a way that it appears that half of the Tower is above the cliff and half of the Tower extends below the cliff. The travelers say, “in the lower floors the stairs are in a spiral.” Then I see they have halos of white light and they say, “we are the consciousness of the earth.” Then I notice the hills that surround the tower and all the hills have eyes that are closed as though they were sleeping.
At this I decide to close the session. I call on the spirits of the Tower to be my allies and to help me learn their lessons and to be at peace.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tarot Working, The Devil

The Devil.
There is not much to report on the informal side of working with the Devil. Perhaps it is time to reiterate what I mean by “informal”. In general it is deliberately loose. I put an image of the card on my phone’s home screen so I look at it multiple times a day. (Yes, I play with my phone a lot.) I carry a small version of the card in my shirt pocket every day. I also try to contemplate the card through the week while I’m at my day to day activities; riding the bus, walking the dog, doing dishes. Sometimes a message will come through sometimes not. I try to keep my eyes open to see if I can spot manifestations of the cards out in the world. This week with the Devil I didn’t feel like I had received any messages before the formal working nor did I see the Devil as I went about my day.
On Tuesday I had a chance to do the formal working. I lit the candle in my lantern and propped the card up in front of me. I called in the same way I’ve been calling the others. “Devil, I call to you. Come to me, speak to me. Share with me your wisdom. Show me your forms.” Almost immediately my vision is obscured with what I’ll describe as a kind of visual static that washed over me in a wave. The figure of the Devil in the card’s image began to glow. Butterfly wings sprouted from the sides of the Devil’s head, resembling elephant ears.
I ask, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The Devil laughs and frowns at the same time. His arms take on a bestial look, hairy and shaggy. His body appears and disappears in and out of my vision. Flat spiky horns sprout from his head, grow, fall away, only to be replaced by a new fresh bone spike. It is like watching flames made of bone burning on top of the Devil’s head. In response to my question he sweeps his arm over the heads of the imps at his feet. He says, “gathering”. Then I see that the flesh of his body resembles a loose fitting suit with gaps opening up at the seams. It is a full body mask and he says, “masks”.
I ask, “what lessons can you teach me?” Holes appear behind him. The holes have jagged edges like there are rips in the air. The Devil says, “connected openings”.
I ask, “what other lessons can you teach me?” He says, “the divinity of your guts.”
I ask, “who are your minions?” The Devil says, “they are not minions, they are guests, friends.”
I ask, “alrighty then, who are your friends?” They say, “I am the one. I am the other one.”
I ask, “do you have names?” The one on the right says “Florin”. The one on the left says “Sorin”. Then they switch back and forth, both claiming to be Florin as well as Sorin. The whole time their gaze is strictly on the Devil.
I ask the Devil, “what is your torch?” He says, “the sensation that hardens the nipples,” and he laughs. Then a wide, shining golden ring forms around his head and then disappears. I take it as another answer to the torch question.
I ask, “where are you standing?” In response my vision changes to a wide sea, no land in sight. The Devil stands on a rock in the middle.  The waves lap at his feet but the waves are tiny and the Devil is huge. His arms blow in the wind, suddenly made of yellow silk. Then he changes to a plume of smoke rising in a great column from the rock in the sea. Then the scene changes and he is the Devil again. His head is still sprouting bone fire. Two birds alight on his brow they are singing.
I ask, “are you evil?” The Devil looks at me and asks, “do you even know what that word means?” He scoffs with derision and says, “if you need someone to blame I can be that.” He seems disappointed.
I get the wave of static across my vision again and as it clears I see two great eyes open on either side of the Devil’s head. The Devil’s face changes to that of an old woman and he says, “learn your lessons well.” Then the giant eyes close and a big mouth opens at the Devil’s neck, singing. It looks like the Devil’s head is now the nose of a larger face. The birds on the Devil’s brow are singing, the great head is singing, and the Devil is in the middle. He says, “as above, so below.” Then I see a vision of deep space and I know that the song of the greater head is the turning of galaxies. Then the birds and the greater head disappear and he is the Devil again.
I ask, “Devil, what is your connection to the Underworld?” He looks down. I follow his gaze and see that he is standing on a large, floating disembodied head of a man. The man’s head has its eyes tightly shut and his teeth are gritted in a grimace of enduring. Below them I see the rolling hills of a countryside. Then above all of it I see another face, this one calm, serene, and reassuring. I hear a voice say, “your pain serves a purpose,” but I can’t tell who has said it.
At this point I was getting pretty tired and so I decided to close the session. I called on the Devil to be my ally, to help me learn his wisdom. I thanked him for coming to me and speaking with me. I release him to be at peace and I close the session.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tarot Working, Temperance

I sat with Temperance this week. There almost no activity for the greater part of the week in the informal stage. On Wednesday afternoon I had some time to scry the card.
I lit the candle and did the invocation as I have been doing. Soon I felt a warmth at the top of my head that spread down into the rest of my body. This was the mark of the arrival of the spirit.
I asked, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The Temperance angel draws her hands apart, the water between her vessels growing longer. She says, “expansion”. Her face changes to become a conglomerate of multiple faces. A figure appears below the stream of water and seems to be reaching toward the water as some of it falls in a shower. She says, “cleansing”. Then the figure disappears and the stream of water moves to flow over the angel’s midsection and I know it is over her womb. The water seems to be flowing out of both cups, meeting in the middle at the womb of the angel, and disappearing there. Then the angel draws her hands together so that the cups are rim to rim trapping the water between them. She says, “containment”.
I ask, “what lessons can you teach me?” At this her dress changes to resemble a high ocean wave. I can see just below its surface a fish gliding under the water. She says, “riding the wave”. Then she lifts her head, her eyes roll back, and her mouth opens slightly. I understand this to indicate religious ecstasy. Then she looks at me and smiles. A small cherub alights on her shoulder and leans toward her head. I can’t tell if it is whispering to her or not.
I ask, “are you my guardian angel?” She smiles and looks away.
I ask, “are you helpful with spirit work?” The image on the card moves in and out of focus and whips form and swirl around the outside of the card, like the air over hot asphalt. Then the angel’s face changes through several forms, people, devils, angels, beasts, before becoming the angel again. It seems that this answer is much more than a simple yes or no but it seems positive so I ask, “how can I use your energy in my spirit work?”. In response the image changes so that a hole opens in the angel’s midsection and the stream of water resembles a road. It seems another card is offering itself as a doorway.
I ask, “what is the flower at your brow?” At this I get a vision of wildflowers in early spring on the side of a rugged mountain. She says, “return of beauty, return of life in harshness, a balm”.
I ask, “what are your cups?” She gives me no answer. Multiple cherubs alight on her shoulders then fly away, leaving two behind, a gold cherub on her left shoulder and a blue one on her right shoulder. Is this an answer to my question? And if it is, is it too easy to think it simply represents duality? This will require more contemplation.
I ask, “what is the liquid passing between the cups?” The angel’s face changes to appear fanged and then it changes again to look like a skull face. This doesn’t seem like an answer so I look away from her face and look to the stream of water directly. I ask again but receive no answer.
I ask, “what is the purpose of the red book?” The cherub on her left shoulder, the gold one, puts a horn to his lips as if to blow but I hear no sound. [This question is based on some elements of my practice at the moment. A bit of UPG.]
I ask, “what is your message to me?” She says, “moderate your passions”. Then her face is replaced with a dog’s but it disappears quickly.
I ask, “are you an angel of heaven?” In response her image jumps into extremely sharp focus. She looks down at the stream of water between the cups and I see that it is made of multiple, striated layers all mingled together. I take this as not quite a no but perhaps it means something more like not only. Her eyes become windows and I can see stars in a night sky through them.
I ask, “where are you standing?” She gives no answer. The gold cherub leans in and whispers in her ear again. I ask, “what is that cherub saying to you?” The cherub flies off and she looks at me flatly saying nothing. I decide this is a good point to close the session. I thank her for her guidance and her wisdom. I call for her to be at peace, to be my ally, and to be a presence in my life.
When I snuff my candle there is no soot and no pain.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tarot Working, Death

Even though I spent as much time with Death as with the previous twelve cards I have a distinct feeling that I’ve barely scratched the surface. Once I’ve gone through the cycle of all 22 I will want to come back to several of the cards and Death will be near the top of that list. There was a strange feeling of the spirit of this card being distant and aloof yet immediate and always present at the same time. I suppose feelings about one’s own mortality come to the fore when one is calling for Death to come and visit. My feeling was that the spirit I communicated with was not the Grim Reaper nor was he an Angel of Death. An emissary of Death perhaps but it is probably less than ideal to try and limit my experience with labels.
 Early in the week, during the informal phase of the operation, I had a vision of the scythe of Death being analogous to the dawn as day breaks. I saw the light of the Sun sweeping over the land and it was the blade of the scythe mowing down all in its path. The blade was the dawn in its capacity to destroy as the first step of creation.
Time to myself was more brief this week than most and so I did the scrying in two relatively brief session. I lit my lantern, propped up the card and sat before it. I did my breathing exercise as usual and called to Death with the same words I have used for all the cards so far. I repeated the call a few times and soon a shiver ran across my body, standing the hairs on end. This was the arrival of the spirit.
I asked, “how can I use your energy in my life?” In response his eye becomes a keyhole and he says “see the other side,” in a whispering voice. Then he holds a rod between his hands and he says, “taking a measure”. Then his scythe becomes an oar and his is Charon on the Styx. He says, “crossing over”.
I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” His arms and legs turn into architectural structures and he says, “keep going”. [I have no idea what this means.] Then his torso becomes an open cup and he says, “your body holds what you receive”.
I ask, “what is in your pocket?” He says, “it’s empty, I’m looking to fill it”. So I ask, “what do you want to fill your pocket with?” He hesitates and then says, “ask me again later”.
I ask, “are you a shadow?” He doesn’t answer me. I am getting distracted by the time. I can tell this annoys Death so I thank him and close the session.
The next morning I try again, same candle, same call. This time I get the shiver again but not as strongly. This time Death looks less skeletal and more like an emaciated man, bone thin. So I ask him, “are you hungry?” He looks at me and smiles widely, not so much with humor but almost more predatory. The candle flame in the lantern suddenly grows larger and brighter. Death turns away and says, “disinterested”. [Wait, did he just think that was an invitation?]
I ask, “what are you looking for?” In response I receive a vision of roots burrowing in the soil.
I ask, “are you a killer?” He looks shocked at my question. Then he looks away and says, “no,” with a determined look on his face.
I ask, “what is your connection to the Underworld?” He says, “I know the path. I hold the charms of passage.”
I ask, “how can I visit the Underworld and come back home?” [I worded it this way because I know of one sure way to visit the Underworld and that was not the answer I was looking for.] In response to my question the image in the card changes. The eye becomes a keyhole again and his ribs look like stairs. I see that the card is a doorway.
I ask, “what is your message to me?” He says, “keep at your labor. It lasts forever”.
I ask, “do you know the secret of immortality?” His head becomes a dark tunnel leading into the distance in front of me. Death smiles and says, “the answer lies in sleep”.
I ask, “who is your master?” He hesitates and before he can answer I am interrupted so I close the session, thanking him for coming and speaking with me. I ask him to be my ally and to help me to use his energy in my life.  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Tarot Working, The Hanged Man

Hanged Man
I began my work with the Hanged Man this past week by trying to connect through art making. As I sketched and doodled I had him manifesting as a man hung from a signpost at a crossroads. He had a wound in his side and became the divine martyr like Prometheus and Jesus. He had a wooden box enclosing his head. It was locked with a big padlock and the key was on the ground, out of reach and out of sight.
When I did the formal scrying session I called him in the normal way and soon the image in the card was surrounded by a purple glow. Suddenly the image switched so that the Hanged Man had his head underground. The earth appeared like a cross section and I could see bugs and shells and stones in the soil around the Hanged Man’s head. It was a very abrupt announcement of the Hanged Man’s arrival.
I asked, “how can I use your energy in my life?” He says, “Rest. Gathering strength. Constriction”. Then a small bear appears next to his head then it disappears and the image of a mountain range appears under his head. He says, ”Connection to the earth”.

I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” In response it appears as if rings form around his legs and arms, resembling targets and he says, “focus”. Then an angular face appears at his coat and he says, “gathering spirit allies”.

I ask, “who has hanged you?” The image of a large man appears and the Hanged Man says, “Greed,” and his feet start to glow.
I ask, “are you connected to Odin?” At this the image changes. It appears as though the wind is blowing. Then the image changes to become a large skull. The eye sockets become portals, windows I can look through. They merge into one opening and through it I see a green hill with a tree at the top. And even though the Hanged Man didn’t say anything I take this as a strong yes.

I ask, “what is your connection to the crossroads?” The Hanged Man moves his legs which are crossed and a spot glows at the cross. He says, “like this I am a cup that receives”. I wonder if this is an answer to my question but I keep going.
I ask, “are you in pain?” He says, “I wait with patience.” It seems he is not in distress.

I ask, “what are you waiting for?” In response I see that in his hands bound behind his back is a large seed pod that is just beginning to open and send out a small white root tendril.
I ask, “what is the knot that holds you?” The image changes to a man in a small boat, like a canoe. The Hanged Man says, “wanderlust.”   

Then I hear my house waking up and I know that I will be interrupted soon so I close the session. I thank the Hanged Man for speaking to me. I ask him to be an ally and a presence in my life and I thank him again.